Sheela-na-Gig aka Jeanne Rathbone

Humanist celebrants demand parity with religious to be wedding registrars as amendement to Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Posted in Humanist celebrants demand parity with religious as registrars by sheelanagigcomedienne on February 9, 2013

It is great that the same-sex marriage bill is on its way. However, I now find that that the institution of marriage that is so approved of by Tories is  SUSPECT and that we will now have to campaign to have all  marriages replaced by civil partnerships!! That’s another story – in Irish Sin sceal eile.

Here is a letter I have sent to Jane Ellison our MP about the the amendments put down by the British Humanist Association through Stephen Williams MP to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill which had its second reading in the Commons on Tuesday. The amendments as written are not only to allow Humanist Celebrants to conduct same sex marriages but to legalise Humanist marriages across the board. We are delighted that they have been accepted by the Clerk in this form. The BHA is happy to say that they will be meeting the government minister responsible for marriage law Helen Grant to make our case.

lesbian wedding kiss

Dear Jane,

As you know I am a humanist wedding celebrant accredited by the British Humanist Association (BHA) and I have been conducting weddings, gay and heterosexual, for the past 16 years. (Incidentally, since the law changed allowing marriage registration in registered venues the costs shot  up and I would advise couples to avoid such venues as we can hold our ceremonies anywhere, anytime!)

The BHA is currently arguing that humanists celebrants should be allowed to perform legal same-sex marriages as part of the Same-Sex Marriage Bill and more widely, that humanist marriages for opposite sex couples should also be made legal. Stephen Williams MP has tabled an amendment to the Bill to achieve this.

That this is only fair, since humanist celebrants have been conducting same sex weddings for decades, so why should our religious counterparts now get the power to do it legally but not us?

In Scotland, as part of its implementation of same sex marriages, the Scottish government is legalising same sex humanist marriages so why not in England and Wales? Since humanist marriages were legalised in Scotland they have rocketed in number and last year overtook Catholic marriages in number. They are clearly wanted by couples.

The BHA will shortly be meeting with Helen Grant, as the responsible minister, and I would be grateful if you would send your support for our position on to Helen Grant and also support any future amendments to the bill in favour of legalising humanist marriages.

Yours sincerely,














I was pleased with the response from Jane and forwarded on to Andrew Copson.

Dear Ms Rathbone

Thank you for your email to Jane about same-sex humanist marriages.

Jane appreciates your interest in this issue. You may be aware that Jane has been placed on the Committee scrutinising the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. She is, therefore, well-placed to raise your concerns on this matter directly with Ministers at Committee, and has asked me to let you know that she will do so at the appropriate opportunity.

I hope that this is helpful.

Kind regards


Jack Giddings

Caseworker to Jane Ellison MP

Battersea, Balham & Wandsworth

Portculis House of Commons

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